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Raising Bilingual Children Part II

Raising Bilingual Children Part II

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What is the parents’ role in raising bilingual children? The parents set the goals for the children and must remain as the organizers of the plan to make sure the goals are met. The question parenting partners have to agree on are the extend of the bilingual strengths. Do we want our child to be academically literate and be able to work and live in two or more languages? That will require 80% exposure to the second language.

Parents have to have a plan with goals

  1. Academic literacy goals live and work in the languages requires 80% exposure and use
  2. Basic literacy read and write but not academic requires at least 50% exposure and use
  3. Communicate with family and friends and play in the second language requires 30% of exposure and use
  4. Minimum of 20% is required to talk to grandparents in their native language
  5. Start the plan with the oldest, language learning between siblings is very helpful
  • Keep in Mind that:
  • Young children’s exposure to a second language benefit and can sound like a native speaker (without an accent)
  • Goals can change, they are not written in stone
  • If you move when when children are young it is ok
  • Be consistent for at least the first 4 years of your child’s life
  • Talk about why it is important to your family
  • Who speaks what and why?
  • Be confident and advocate for your child.
  • Make it fun so they continue with language development when they leave you


  • When will you use the home language? At meal time?
  • If one parent is not as strong, as long as they try, it is beneficial
  • By Topic? School work or family time?
  • By Place? Kitchen – Italian only, or Technology zone Dad’s language only

Language Priorities for learning

  • language of family
  • language of the school
  • language of the community
  • other languages

What is the parents’ job?

  1. Learn about raising a bilingual child
  2. Set goals
  3. Plan for goals
  4. Talk to your children about the goals
  5. Talk to key people
  6. Know how to get help: Tutors or nanny, child care, family members, extra curricular activities
  7. Go on vacation in a place that speaks the language that you are learning

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